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Gullah Language Analysis Essay

African Americans as a whole have been thought of as a secular group, having lost any sembalance of the continent from which they came(__________). However, people of the Trans-Atlantic African Diaspora have had quite a unique experience in the United States. The diverse sub cultures within the larger African American population are indicative of this unique experience. Yet in spite of African American’s unique qualities scholars and critics abound have asserted that African American heritage was obliterated by the chattel slavery system.

Although slavery greatly restricted the ability of Africans in America to freely express their cultural traditions, many practices, values and beliefs survived. This fact is extremely apparent when Gullah culture is considered. Gullah culture is comprised of an idiosyncratic group of African Americans who live chiefly domiciled in the Sea Islands and coastal regions of the southern part of the United States (___________). Scholars have long asserted that Gullah people were able to preserve their culture in the face of great adversity and tribulations.

What emerged from the ashes of slavery were a people with their own food, their own language, cultural celebrations and folklore (__________). While they are a part of the greater transatlantic diaspora and African American community, Gullah are unique people within their own right. Yet, they serve as testimony that semblances of Africa still exist in African American people generations removed from the continent due to slavery (__________).

Most explorations of African American culture have dissected the aggregate populations but have ignored subcultures within the group (e. . , Singhapakdi et al. 1999; Tadepalli, Moreno, and Trevino 1999; Tsui and Windsor 2001). A subculture is comprised of a self-perpetuating assemblage of individuals who are held together by common cultural and/or chromosomal ties. Similarly African Americans as a group are identified both by its members and by others as being a distinguishable group (Solomon 2007). This is yet another fissure in culture research that the present study is filling. Theory, Prior Research and Background

According to_______, Gullah people are the descendants of slaves that were forced to work on plantations in South Carolina and Georgia. Scholars have long asserted that Gullah people have been able to that preserves many of the elements of African culture and language brought to the United States by their predecessors. However in the same breath many of these same scholars that praise Gullah people for their perseverance in the face of adversity will be moan the greater African American population for being devoid of Culture.

Suffice it to say not much research has been done on how the unique intricacies of Gullah culture actually show that the larger African American population in the United States has been able to preserve many elements of African culture as well. Thus, contrary to popular belief the majority of people in the African American community have been able to retain a semblance of their African roots(Grover and Lane 2009). Forced servitude and labor served an integral role in the formation establishment and economic prosperity of the United States .

According to ____________ the first Africans slaves arrived in the United States on slave ships in 1619. The descendants of these slaves, comprise a significant part of the population of the U. S. While the number of people who were enslaved and brought to the western hemisphere will never be known, scholars have studied where in Africa they originated from. Contrary to popular belief African slaves were not brought to America from the entire continent of Africa (__________________). African American ands Gullah people have a very specific African Ancestry.

The majority of African slaves brought to the U. S originated from the Ivory Coast of Africa(___________). The Ivory Coast in present day is known as comprising nations Senegal, Gambia and Angola. __________. From this brief history it is important to note that African Americans and Gullah people have a common geographic lineage. because both groups ancestors originated from the same region of Africa . They also share the commonality that their ancestors were subjected to chattel slavery in the United State remained in bondage for over ________ years(________).

During this time slaves worked diligently to form ethnic resistance and physical opposition to slavery. Their efforts became an essential component in the establishment of African diasporic communities (____________). __________ states that as discrete communities based upon shared experiences, “African diasporic communities were linked by regional origins, American destinations, and New World cultural exchanges”(_______). Thus by analyzing materials as sundry as, slave narratives, manifest from slave ships and records from plantations, a amalgamated image of slavery, and African American cultural endurance arises.

This in turn elucidates the magnitude of the transmission of African cultural practices and knowledge systems in Gullah Culture and to a greater extent entire transatlantic diasporatic community. According to _______ there are three interconnected elements that explain how Gullah people and the African American community were able to preserve so much of their African cultural identity. First ______ states that the ratio of the African and African American populations compared to their white counterparts remained relatively high throughout 1800’s,and continued through end of slavery in __________.

The second element that _____ gives is that the continuous ingress of Africans into the United States slave trade persisted, which strengthened African cultural traditions and practices in slave regions and abridged assimilation. Finally __________ states that Slave regions were often separated by geographic obstacles such as barrier islands, and swamps separated from the urban communities, which reinforced Africans’ collective identity and consciousness (____________) . Around 1790 several transatlantic diasporic groups had formed across the United States via sale to other slave owners, escape and migration.

Most notably Gullah people emerged in the Savannah-Ogeechee district, of Georgia and in North Carolina. With the introduction of over 13,000 new Africans to the southern part of the United States, a new language began to develop as people from varying parts of the transatlantic diasporic began to interact. _____ states that as various people from the different regions of Africa, “began to intersperse a shared language made possible the establishment of a sense of community in the foreign and hostile territory” Thus, Gullah/Geechee language, was born.

According to ________________ Gullah/Geechee is an English-based creole dialect with West African origins. Since African slave came from different regions of Africa along the Ivory Coast many spoke similar but distinctive languages, and in order to communicate with each other and with their owners, they combined the similarities of their languages with English to form Gullah language. Thus cultural identity of these transatlantic communities emanated from shared African traditions and experiences, as well as intersecting social relations and linguistic connections.

In similar fashion African American Vernacular English (AAVE) also originated in the American south from slaves. Much like Gullah language, AAVE formed when slave combined the similarities in tier respective African languages with U. S English. The differences in the two emerge because Gullah culture and language re remained relatively the same do to isolations from the general U. S populace. AAVE however, metamorphosed as more people of the Trans-Atlantic diaspora began to spread across the United States and started interacting with other people the U. S. ________ state that for this reason the influences of Africa on the languages of the greater transatlantic diaspora are not as pronounced as the influence of Africa found in Gullah language. African Americans began to adopt customs, phrases and practices from other cultures that they interacted with(_____________).

Due to African-Americans increased interaction with other cultures their language began to change to reflect these new exchanges. Snidell states that as AAVE speakers began to interact with lower class whites, native Americans, Hispanics and Asian they began to adopt many of the words and phrases used by these groups and fused them with English and native African tongues(__________). AAVE thereby ventured away from the creole-esque dialect that they had adopted on southern plantations to reflect a more comprehensive picture of the U. S population. Gullah language is quite similar in that the language is also derivative of several languages merged to form a unique language with an African base.

The languages are also similar in their phonetic structure. According to ______both AAVE and Gullah use aspects of phonology and lexis from each of their adopted languages but none the grammatical qualities concomitant with the language. Hence the reason many sociolinguists reserve the term AAVE for varieties, which are marked by the occurrence of certain distinctive grammatical features. For example Standard English uses the conjugated verb are (called a copula) in a number of different sentences. other words that may be used in the place af be is, ‘s, are, ‘re, etc. ) However in Gillah language and AAVE this verb is frequently not omitted from speach . For example examples, in standard English a person may say, “I do not care what he may say, you are going to lagh! ” This sentence in gullah and AAVE take a different form. In AAVE this sentence would be, “I don’t care what he say, you __ gone laugh. ” In Gullah this sentence would read Ie DUNKYUH WARRUH yuh GIT te say he gawn laugh.

The stark differences between the these sentence with the same meaning are indicative of the fact that Gullah and AAVE speakers while using English words, do not speak the language in your typically manner. Again, both the AAVE and Gullah version of the sentence omit the conjugated verb and their often omitted from these languages. Strinkgly languages practiced along the ivory coast typically do not use conjugated verbs either. Similarities such as the aforementioned have led some scholars to assert that English in the form that AAVE and Gullah people speak it diverge from standard English due to their African ancestry(_________).

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